Trail hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I love to grab the day pack, invite one of the kids or my wife and take the dog to one of dozens of hikes in our area. I love the fresh air, stress-relieving exercise, and views of nature.
In 2020 I logged 200 trail outings and more than half were hiking trips. I added up the mileage and probably logged around 500 hiking miles. We hiked through forests, over rolling hills, across snowy glaciers, along rivers, around lakes, over tressels, through tunnels, and more. We hiked loops that included several lakes, loops to outlooks and back through valleys as well as out and back single track.
What an awesome year for hiking adventures!
Over the years we've learned how to execute the perfect hiking trip. We've learned how to plan, what gear and supplies to take, how to prepare for the weather, how to stay safe and how to ensure we get back home safe.
Adventure Story: Polar Bear Plunge
...we took pictures at emerald lake at the bottom of the glacier. The water was so cold that the glacier snow remained solid while submerged. One of the guys touched the glacier water and remarked at how cold it was.
Of course, that's when the dare was born: "Who wants to take a polar bear plunge?" one guy yelled. Someone else responded, "I'll do it if you do..."
Below you'll find the following topics:
If you're like us you'll love the trail and hiking will become second nature. Let's get started.
Over the years we've learned how to set up the perfect hike. We thought we'd list a few tips to consider for your next outing:
We all have different risk tollerances. As I've gotten older I've consciously slowed down a lot and take fewer risks. I've seen guys with life-altering injuries who can't enjoy the outdoors any longer. I talked with a man this week who has messed up his knees and joints so much he can't go on a simple hike. That can't be me!
When we venture out, we need to keep in mind that we have future outdoor experiences to enjoy so we need to get home safe after every one. Our chances of survival and safe return increase with a few principles:
Having the right first aid supplies handy can help a lot. Make sure you have the right supplies for the activities you're doing.
I take my day pack on every outing. I log between 100 and 200 outings per year. I'm often surprised how often I needed the gear and supplies in the pack. Over the years I've locked down the perfect day pack for my climate and area. This checklist is highly recommended trail gear for every day pack. Of course, you can adjust for your area and outing style.
I divide my gear and supplies into 3 kits: gear, first aid, toiletries. These kits go into my pack and are with me on every outing.
First Aid Kit (IFAK)
Sturdy, lockable, plastic industrial totes/bins for survival gearBuy on Amazon
I'm a former Scout Master. I've used or seen others use just about every outdoor product you can imagine. When it comes to hiking, there are some pretty tried and true products you can rely on. Here are some of the outdoor products we recommend taking on all outings.
Click on the image to read the review or click on the button to purchase.
Affordable, long lasting personal water filter and purifier for the trailBuy On Amazon
The most popular, reliable outdoor multi-tool on the marketBuy on Amazon
Durable, rechargeable 450 lumen LED head lamp for hands free trail useBuy on Amazon
2 Liter leak proof hydration bladder for trail daypacks and backpacksBuy On Amazon
Being prepared with some survival skills, trail information, and weather forecasts can make your hike relaxing and help you get home safe.
Don't get lost! Find the right map for your area. We recommend reviewing the map BEFORE your embark on your adventure. Get a feel for the topography, water sources, trails and roads, etc.Choose Your Map
We love our trail time! We hope your outings this year are memorable, relaxing, full of adventure, and safe.
We'd love to hear about any memorable stories you experience. Submit them to us and if we feel the story matches the site we'll publish it.
Gear up, prepare, and hit the trail! Enjoy!
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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.